11 Corps Reserves 1940

Reserves which came under 11 Corps command on July 2nd 1940 comprised 1st Armoured Brigade and 157th Brigade. In addition 52nd Division was to act in support of either 11 Corps or 2 Corps.

1st Armoured Brigade (at eight hours notice) was given five alternative roles in the event of the invasion of Britain:

  • GEORGE – to move to the area Brandon-Thetford and thence action against enemy forces landing on the north East Anglian coast and advancing on Norwich.
  • MARY – to move to the area Honnington-Tostock-Little Welnetham-Bury St Edmunds-Ingham and thence action against enemy forces landing between Aldeburgh and Southwold and advancing on Ipswich.
  • JUNE – to move to the area Wickham St Pauls-Wakes Colne-Pattiswick-Gosfield-Sible Hedingham and thence action against enemy forces landing between Harwich and Southwold and advancing on London.
  • HORACE – to move to the area Wragby-Horncastle –Lincoln and thence action against enemy forces landing south of the River Humber
  • Action against enemy airborne troops in the area Cottenham-Kenford-Thurlow-Balsham-Cambridge.
    • The role given to 52nd Division was to act as the mobile reserve for 2 Corps either against enemy landings on the coast or airborne attacks on aerodromes and to move in support of 11 Corps. In order to avoid the dissipation of its forces, any serious attacks on aerodromes was to be given first priority. Brigades were to try and limit initial support to aerodromes to one battalion.

      The allotted brigade group of 52nd Division to move against an enemy landing from the sea between Lowestoft and Southwold was 156th along with 157th Brigade which was under 11 Corps orders. The Brigade groups were to move to the area Harleston-Cratfield-Framlingham-Stradbroke in order to hold an enemy advancing south-west from Lowestoft-Southwold until further reserves could move up to counter attack. In order to ensure all routes passing through this area were blocked Battalion groups were to be established at:

      • 157th Brigade: Badingham, Brundish and Laxfield
      • 156th Brigade: Cratfield, Fressingfield and Metfield.
        • It was hoped that 55th Division could hold the line south of Framlingham and 18th Division could guard the north flank along the River Waveney.

          If circumstances dictated 156th and 157th Brigades could also be ordered to hold and fix the Command Line between Bury St Edmunds and the Corps Line between Needham Market-Stowmarket-Old Newton-Norton Wood. With the lines fixed the objective would then to be attack the enemy advancing south-west from Lowestoft-Southwold.

          As well as 11 Corps reserves, GHQ reserves that were reconnoitering forward concentration areas for a move to the East, which included Suffolk, were 2nd Armoured Division (Thetford-Garboldisham-Ixworth area) and 43rd Division (Lavenham-Hadleigh-Sudbury area).

          References:
          1st Armoured Brigade papers, TNA
          52nd Division papers, TNA
          GHQ Reserve papers, TNA
          11 Corps papers, TNA

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